The pace of technological
change has become dizzying. If you typically start migrating to a tool a
year or two after it's released, you could very well find another
version released before your migration is over. The general availability
of beta and Community Technology Preview pre-release versions of
developer tools provides opportunity (and pressure) to work with tools
before they're released, which certainly means before they are
documented. If you work with Microsoft tools, you might be considering
adopting the latest version of Visual Studio and the accompanying .NET Framework. Perhaps you have yet to use particular Microsoft tools, frameworks, and libraries are are wondering if you should be. Or you need to develop entirely different kinds of applications in response to requests from your users, customers, or partners.
We work with the latest technologies every day. We
write software for a variety of customers,
including plenty who have no IT or development staff. We can help bring
your team current on the technologies we know, or teach you the
processes we use.
The pace of change affects not just what tools you use, but the way
you use them; there are new processes and methodologies like Agile and Scrum. Perhaps you're thinking of changing your source control tools, or looking at the different editions of Visual Studio and trying to understand why the price for Visual Studio Enterpise is so much more than Professional, and whether your developers will really gain enough productivity to justify those costs, or if Community (which is free) is all you need.
Many developers are learning to work with a new Windows version, and want to add those features to existing applications. Then there's the new C++ 11, 14, and 17 features for native developers, cross-platform development, and so much more. How do you keep up? How do you stay current? How can you learn how to use these tools when courses and books tend to lag release dates by as much as a year?
There's more than one way to
learn new skills. You can take a course or buy a book, but you might
prefer to use our mentoring program. Mentoring is a short-term
involvement that brings new skills into your group or raises the skill
level of an existing team. We provide on-site, on-the-job technical
advice and tutoring, or if you prefer, you can send someone to us to
learn! Our mentors draw on their instructing
experience, certified technical knowledge and
vast exposure to real IT
projects so they help your staff to meet goals quickly and efficiently,
What Benefits does Mentoring Offer?
customized attention to issues that
may not be addressed in the traditional classroom environment.
and permanent increase in productivity through tailored
training, coaching, and inspiration
tremendous employee satisfaction through being provided something worth
more than taking a course or attending a conference
temporary capability in a new technology without having to hire more
full time staff
permanent capability in a new technology by teaching it to your
existing staff while incorporating it into your existing code
We can bring your team into a new area -- moving to .NET or from .NET to native code, upgrading to the latest Visual Studio, using Visual
Studio Online for source control and Application Lifecycle Management, or getting ready for the next
release. We can introduce you to a new-to-your-team technology like
web services, XML, Json, or WPF. We can get you past a
-- one thing that you don’t know how to do
that you’ll only need to do once. Or we can help you
get past a temporary spike of work that needs more people; we'll
pitch in during an intense time, then you'll go back to normal when the
spike is past.
The skills being learned are applied immediately to real projects. You get the
convenience of having a knowledgeable mentor available just as problems
or questions arise. You have access to the most current skills from
certified instructors with real life and classroom teaching experience. The
pace is right for your people, there is less disruption to the workday than with traditional classroom
instruction, and instead of examples and exercises, you do the work you
need to complete. By working directly with an experienced developer, you will pick up
shortcuts, tips and tricks, and timesavers in addition to the fundamentals you knew you needed to learn.
How does it work?
You form a relationship with a single mentor, who is available by
phone, email, and instant messenger between visits to your site. Most of
our clients arrange regular visits - half a day a week is popular, but
you might prefer longer visits or slightly less frequent ones. On some
visits, your mentor presents some prepared material that you have agreed
on together, teaching a particular topic of interest. On others, your
developers present stumbling blocks or problems that have arisen since
the last visit and the mentor helps to solve them with the group, in the
process teaching your developers how to solve that sort of problem.
Another time the mentor might lead the team through a design or
architecture process, lead a code review, facilitate a requirements
meeting, or settle technical disagreements. Still another time, the
mentor might spend half a day writing a "proof of concept" application
that demonstrates how to accomplish a specific task, so that your staff
can incorporate a new technology into your existing application. It all depends on what your
team needs at that particular time.
What's the Difference Between Mentoring and Consulting?
So many firms, with wildly varying business models, describe
themselves as consultants and their offerings as consulting. Some of
them have an army of suit-wearing developers that they send to your
office day after day, week after week, charging you for all their time
no matter what's accomplished, running your project, and leaving you in
pretty much the same state they found you -- except you've spent a lot
of money and perhaps you have a completed project. Others use the word
to describe an independent practitioner who joins your firm almost as a
member of staff, bringing a very specific skill that you need for months
or years, and who has no clients other than you. There's very little
advice-giving or information transfer in the process. Still others,
mostly management consultants in my experience, come in with their army
of suits, tell you what you should do, and leave -- they don't
implement, they only advise!
We offer a variety of services to our clients. What we call
consulting is giving people advice, making
suggestions for what people should do, and so on. We also offer
programming and web development, where we create software or a web site
for you that meets your requirements and helps to solve your business
problems. And separate from those services, we offer mentoring.
Mentoring is about boosting skill and productivity levels with
one-on-one contact. Oh yes, we advise, we suggest, we even lead
sometimes, and it's all focused on making your developers better
positioned to solve your business problems going forward. A successful
mentoring project is all about knowledge transfer.
How can You Arrange a Mentoring Program?
Just call or email us and discuss your circumstances:
how many people need to learn, what do they need to learn, when do they
need to start using the new skills? We'll work something out that will
get you productive as quickly as possible.